A Weekend in Berlin

When Zack got an unexpected long weekend off work, we decided to take advantage of that and plan a last minute trip to Berlin, Germany. Why Berlin? Why not! The price was right, we had never been, and so many people were telling us how cool the city is.

Berlin is like no place I’ve ever been. There’s so much history, yet many areas feel very modern. The city has such a cool vibe, and it’s hard to put a finger on what that means exactly, but you feel it as soon as you start walking around.

Whether you’re planning a quick stop or an extended stay, here’s a few of my recommendations for things to see, foods + restaurants to try, and some helpful tips.

EXPLORE

Alexanderplatz is a good starting point. As one of the most popular squares, it’s easy to get to with the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram, or bus, and there are a few landmarks within the square including the World Clock and the Fernsehturm (TV Tower).

We booked tickets to visit the observation deck of the Fernsehturm for a great view of Berlin. I highly recommend booking a ticket in advance to skip the line. It was a 2 hour wait when we visited, and we got to skip right to the front!

The Berliner Dom is another must-see. The cathedral is located on Museum Island and just a short walk from the Fernsehturm. Enjoy the view from every angle, including a climb up to the dome.

The Reichstag Building (Parliament) is another unique building in Berlin. The building’s focal point is the glass dome on the top. It’s free to visit, but you MUST register in advance for a time slot.

Nearby is the Brandenburg Gate, an iconic landmark of Germany, and not far from the gate is the Holocaust Memorial (officially named the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe).

A little farther away, but easy to reach by the S-Bahn, is the East Side Gallery, an open-air gallery and one of the longest sections of the Berlin Wall still standing. Not far is the colorful Kreutzigerstrasse Street in the Friedrichshain Neighborhood.

FOOD + RESTAURANT GUIDE

Be sure to try:
• Soft Pretzels
• Currywurst
• Bratwurst
• Beer
• Schnapps
• Sekt (German Sparkling Wine)

As for where to eat:

• Visiting a Biergarten is a must! They are the perfect place to grab a beer, a bite, and relax. Check out: Ampelmann Restaurant and Prater Beer Garden.

• For something unexpected: Cocolo Ramen. Yes, ramen in Germany. Zack’s coworker said it’s the best ramen ever so we gave it a try. Conclusion: BEST RAMEN EVER.

• Brunch it up: Steel Vintage Bikes Café. This bicycle shop + café has a laid back atmosphere + delicious menu. Hands down, best chai latte I’ve ever had.

TIPS

• Public transportation is excellent and includes the U-Bahn, S-bahn, tram, and bus. Consider buying a day pass to save time + money.

• Book online in advance if you plan to visit the Fernsehturm or the Reichstag Building.

• Several of the restaurants + biergartens only took cash, so have some euros on hand just in case!

We arrived Saturday morning and left Monday morning, so the trip was brief, but we managed to squeeze so much in and somehow come home feeling so relaxed and refreshed! Of course there’s even more that we didn’t see (for next time!), but I wouldn’t change a thing about our visit! I’d love to go back. . .or even visit other cities in Germany as well.

If you’ve ever been to Berlin, what did you love most? Or what other cities in Germany would you recommend?

– Courtney

Restaurant Links:
Amplemann Restaurant // Prater Beer Garden
Cocolo Ramen // Steel Vintage Bike Cafés


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